How are we always breaking sports world records?


As I understand it, we’re partly breaking speed/jumping records because of equipment: better shoes or whatever will make a huge difference.

Not trying to belittle their achievements, but to me somebody breaking a weightlifting world record is a little more impressive, as presumably everything is identical every time except the person themselves?

How are we still breaking those sorts of records? Better training? Are we artificially selecting for better weightlifters (ie, olympic weightlifters have olympic weightlifting kids)?

In: Biology

I think the concept of athletes dedicating 100% of their lives to training for a specific sport is a relatively modern thing. So you have that, better equipment technology, a lot better physio understanding around optimizing training and nutrition and stuff. (EDIT: and while thinking more about it, there’s probably a lot easier ways to be “discovered” globally as a high performer nowadays. was the god-like marathon runner from Africa being noticed 60 years ago?)

And doping. Let’s not forget that a ton of records are broken cause athletes have made themselves artificially super-human (on top of already being very strong performers…it’s not like an average person can dope up and become the best in the world)

A person with the right genetics is born and with the right training he can break the world record.

That’s a good question. And I can’t really answer which is more impressive. I know there’s a lot of controversy over a particular type of shoe that’s legal in running events this year. And a few years ago there was a swimming costume that was controversial.

As for how world records keep getting beaten, there’s a lot.

As more people are born the chances of the right person with the perfect genetics (big lungs, long legs,unusual flexibility etc.) Increases. So inevitably there’s always going to be someone better eventually

Add in that our understanding of training and nutrition is always improving and it’s not really surprising that records get beaten.

Then you can also consider than sponsors throw more money at a sport. That adds a lot.

almost entirely technology. yes nutrition and training is better, but humans are not better than humans 100 years ago. Anyone saying otherwise is deluding thmeselves

80% technology

20% everything else.

Jesse Owen’s WR stood forever and the dude ran on what was basically sand. Not the rubberized surfaces they run on today.

body specialization and technology. We have a lot of people to choose from now and we pick people who’s bodies are perfect for whatever sport they are doing. Secondly technology, the track they’re running on, the pole they’re using, their shoes, their vitamins blah blah blah. There’s a super cool ted talk about it

First off, we have much larger populations from which to draw athletes. As world population grows, as more countries prosper to the level that people can participate in sports rather than just try to survive a subsistence lifestyle. 100 years ago, Olympic athletes were only from wealthy families in a couple dozen countries.

And training has improved. Athletes train more, have better coaching, as well as nutritionists, sports psychologists to help them achieve maximum performance.

Medical advancements also allow athletes to recover faster from minor injuries and keep careers alive after major injuries. There are fewer athletes who have careers derailed before they can reach the top of the sport.

And then there is equipment. Better shoes, more aerodynamic clothing and such. But that’s the least of the improvements over time.